Many thanks to Zonta Kitchener-Waterloo for a Women of Achievement Award! I would like to thank Elizabeth Clarke for nominating me and Brenda Halloran for interviewing and introducing me. News coverage of the banquet and award ceremony, 17 February 2016, follows: http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=811338.
Brenda Halloran suggested that I read a poem. Keep it light and joyful, she said, and about something we can all relate to.
So I decided to read a poem about death.
Actually, it’s only peripherally about death. It’s more about aging–something we can all relate to.
The night before a significant birthday, I was a mess. I’d injured my left knee a few months earlier, and it still hadn’t healed enough to walk down stairs without pain. And I had tendonitis in both elbows from lifting and carrying something that was far too heavy.
That night, with aches in three of my four extremities, I got up in the dark and crashed into a wall I’d forgotten was there, breaking a toe on my right foot. The next day, my birthday, I accidentally wheeled a suitcase over it. I could hardly walk. So I graduated into old age feeling not the significant age I’d turned but 30 years older.
And that prompted this poem.
Limping towards Infinity
26 June 2014
Before the sun and old age dawned,
I crashed, half asleep, into the dark-
obscured, jutting corner of a wall
and broke, or nearly broke, a toe.
The wall a jolt, though accidental,
into senescence, almost as sure
as the hormone blasts that startled breasts
and adolescence into excitement.
The brain knows finitude. The heart does not.
24,000 sunrises. How many
more? The wall a reminder of other
hard stops on the limping way to infinity.